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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Disabled Young Person Dehydrated to Death in Terri Schiavo's Hospice


Unquestionably conscious cognitively disabled patients are now being denied sustenance in every state in U.S.


Another young person has been dehydrated to death in the same hospice in Florida where Terri Schindler Schiavo met her court-ordered end. Bradley Whaley, 26, was severely brain damaged by an overdose of drugs and was minimally conscious, according to media reports. He died July 2 after the Hospice of Florida Suncoast removed his food and hydration tube.


After Bradley's collapse, his mother said she and her husband did nothing but "work, sleep and spend time with Bradley". His family cared for him for three years but in the end they transferred Bradley to the Hospice of Florida Suncoast, the same hospice in which Terri Schiavo died after having her assisted nutrition and hydration tube removed.


Sue Whaley told the St. Petersburg Times that Bradley would "mouth" the word 'mama' and would kiss her if she leaned close enough.


Wesley J. Smith, a lawyer and critic of secular bioethics, wrote of the case that it illustrated the new medical ethics paradigm, based on "quality of life" criteria, in which patients who cannot speak or feed themselves are now at risk of being killed by dehydration.


"For more than ten years I have been telling anyone who will listen that unquestionably conscious cognitively disabled patients are being denied sustenance in every state in this country--so long as no family member objects," Smith writes.


But the "bigger story", he said, was the "blasť, matter-of-fact" way in which the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg Times covered the story. The Times gave a glowing biographical account of Bradley's life in which the fact that he was killed by having food and water withdrawn was given a scant single line.


Smith comments that the Times "exhibited profound, nay, nasty, bias against the Schindlers during the Schiavo debacle".


"Can you imagine the paper's reaction had a dog or a horse been denied sustenance?"


The real issue, Smith says, is that profoundly cognitively disabled patients are now at risk wherever they are.


"The wall was breached allowing utilitarian bioethical values to come pouring in. Now, virtually anyone who needs a feeding tube and can't make their own decisions--conscious or not--can and are being denied food and water." 


Contact: Hilary White


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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.†† Click here to learn more about the IFRL.